The Tigers, who finished 32-24 one of the toughest schedules in the country, lost the tiebreaker to qualify for the SEC Tournament. However, Auburn's first-year head coach Tom Slater kept his team busy by practicing the Tigers the past week. Slater says he believes that he will hear his team's name announced as a participant at one of the regional sites.
If Auburn receives an NCAA bid as expected, it will be the 17th in school history. The Tigers had a streak of seven straight trips to NCAA play snapped last season when the Tigers posted a 32-24 record. Even though that mark is identical to this year team's mark, there are several major differences.
This year's team had more success against nationally ranked teams and played a tougher schedule than the 2004 squad.
Also, last year's team was in a major slump late in the season, a factor that can hurt a team's chances of making the tournament field. It lost 10 of its last 13 games, finishing the year with an ugly 15-3 blowout loss at Arkansas. That was the final game for Steve Renfroe, who was replaced as head coach by Slater, a former Auburn assistant who returned to AU from the University of Florida where he was an assistant coach.
Auburn finished the regular season with a 9-8 mark vs. RPI Top 20 opponents and had victories over nine teams (Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee) ranked in the Top 25 at the end of the regular season. AU played eight non-conference games vs. Top 30 RPI teams and 21 SEC games.
Senior first baseman Karl Amonite leads the Tigers in hitting with a .361 batting average.
The NCAA's tournament selection committee announced its 16 regional sites and host teams on Sunday and the remaining 48 teams will be announced on Monday. Four SEC teams (Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU and Florida) are in the field as host sites and possibly five or six more SEC teams could make the field. Here are the regional sites:
*Cal State Fullerton (41-14), Fullerton, California
*Clemson (39-21), Clemson, South Carolina
*Florida (40-20), Gainesville, Florida
*Florida State (50-18), Tallahassee, Florida
*Georgia Tech (41-16), Atlanta, Georgia
*LSU (38-20), Baton Rouge, Louisiana
*Long Beach State (36-20), Long Beach, California
*Miami (Florida) (38-17-1), Coral Gables, Florida
*Mississippi (44-17), Oxford, Mississippi
*Nebraska (50-13), Lincoln, Nebraska
*Oregon State (41-9), Corvallis, Oregon
*Tennessee (41-19), Knoxville, Tennessee
*Texas (45-14), Austin, Texas
*Tulane (50-9), New Orleans, Louisiana